South Africa: Expansion Plans for Durban, Ngqura Port Terminals Commended

The Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication has welcomed the expansion plans at Durban's port terminal and Gqeberha's Ngqura port.

Briefing the committee on the capacity expansion programme to increase exports/imports at both ports, Transnet National Ports Authority Chief Executive, Pepi Silinga, said it is an organisational priority to develop Durban's port into a modern deep-water facility.

"Bringing this task to a conclusion requires multi-phased investments, the first being the conclusion of a partnership to drive a turnaround strategy for Durban Container Terminal Pier 2. The partner is expected to support the required investments to modernise the terminal.

"Part of Transnet's hub port strategy includes further development of the Ngqura port into an efficient, trans-shipment-focused container terminal. The port has modern infrastructure and equipment, and is capable of handling large container vessels," Silinga said.

Due to operational challenges and lack of competition, Silinga said the Ngqura container terminal is currently not making effective use of its capacity.

Regarding the impact of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal, Silinga told the committee that the resulting damage is huge and repairs amount to billions of rands.

Committee Chairperson, Zolani Mkiva, said the projects Transnet is currently working on are significant and meaningful in job creation and employment opportunities.

"Investing in infrastructure is the creation of more employment opportunities," Mkiva said.

The committee commended an announcement about future plans for East London, noting that the port has enormous potential and can provide much-needed economic activity, although little work is planned for the immediate future.

Mkiva said for a long time there has been a suggestion that the sector is dominated by particular companies, requiring an indication of how the sector is being opened and made more accessible to the majority of South Africans.

The committee also wanted to understand if the sector is making progress towards transformation, to ensure that the majority of South Africans from historically marginalised communities have access in the sector.

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